Frozen Shoulder

Health Plus Physical Therapy Center

Physical Therapy center located at 2114 Oak Tree Rd, Edison, NJ 08820

At Health Plus, we provide tailored therapy services to address various conditions and injuries. Our goal is to help you regain mobility, alleviate pain, and enhance your well-being. With advanced techniques and compassionate care, we’re here to support your journey to recovery.

Understanding Frozen Shoulder:

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a prevalent shoulder condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It occurs when the shoulder capsule thickens and tightens, restricting movement and causing discomfort. Whether triggered by injury, inflammation, or underlying health conditions, frozen shoulder can significantly limit shoulder mobility and impact daily activities. Here’s a comprehensive guide to comprehending and addressing this condition.


The shoulder joint consists of several components, including the joint capsule, ligaments, and surrounding muscles. In frozen shoulder, the joint capsule thickens and tightens, leading to stiffness and limited mobility. This condition primarily affects the shoulder’s ability to move freely and comfortably.


  1. Trauma or Injury: Frozen shoulder can develop following shoulder trauma or injury, such as a fall, sports-related impact, or accidents, which may trigger inflammation and the onset of adhesive capsulitis.
  2. Overuse or Repetitive Motion: Repetitive overhead movements or actions involving the shoulder, like constant lifting, reaching, or repetitive tasks, can exacerbate the development of frozen shoulder by placing strain on the joint capsule and surrounding tissues.
  3. Degeneration with Age: Aging can contribute to the thickening and tightening of the shoulder capsule, leading to frozen shoulder, as wear and tear accumulate over time, particularly affecting older individuals.


  1. Shoulder Pain: Frozen shoulder typically manifests as persistent shoulder pain, particularly pronounced during activities involving lifting or reaching overhead.
  2. Weakness: Individuals with frozen shoulder often experience reduced strength in the affected shoulder, making lifting or using the arm challenging.
  3. Limited Range of Motion: One of the hallmark symptoms of frozen shoulder is restricted movement in the shoulder joint, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks or move the arm freely, especially in specific directions.
  4. Catching or Clicking Sensation: Some individuals may notice a sensation of catching or clicking in the shoulder joint as they attempt to move it, indicative of the restricted mobility characteristic of frozen shoulder.


  1. Clinical Examination: Diagnosis of frozen shoulder involves assessing symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion through a physical examination, including evaluating the shoulder’s ability to move and its strength.
  2. Imaging Studies: To confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the extent of shoulder capsule thickening, imaging tests such as MRI or ultrasound may be conducted to visualize the shoulder joint and surrounding structures.

Treatment Options:

  1. Conservative Management:

    Rest and Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that worsen symptoms and modifying daily tasks to reduce strain on the shoulder. Physical Therapy: Engaging in tailored exercises designed to enhance shoulder flexibility, strength, and mobility.

  2. Pain Management:

    Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Prescribed to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the shoulder joint.

    Corticosteroid Injections: Administered directly into the shoulder to alleviate pain and improve mobility.

  3. Modalities:

    Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heat packs to the affected shoulder to alleviate pain and decrease inflammation.

  4. Surgical Interventions:

    In some cases, if conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical options may be considered, such as:

    Arthroscopic Release: A minimally invasive procedure to release the tight shoulder capsule and improve mobility.

    Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA): A procedure performed under anesthesia to manipulate the shoulder joint and break up adhesions. Open Surgery: In rare instances, open surgery may be necessary to address severe cases of frozen shoulder or associated complications.

Surgical Options:

In severe cases of frozen shoulder or when conservative treatments prove ineffective, surgical interventions may be recommended. These options may include:

Arthroscopic Capsular Release: A minimally invasive procedure to release the tight capsule around the shoulder joint, allowing for improved mobility.

Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA): This procedure involves manipulating the shoulder joint while the patient is under anesthesia to break up adhesions and improve range of motion. Open Capsular Release: In certain instances, open surgery may be necessary to address severe cases of frozen shoulder or when other surgical techniques are not feasible.


Following treatment for frozen shoulder, rehabilitation plays a vital role in restoring shoulder function, enhancing strength, and reducing the risk of recurrence.


  1. Strengthening Exercises: Incorporating regular exercises focused on strengthening the shoulder muscles, particularly the rotator cuff, to improve stability and reduce strain on the joint.
  2. Maintaining Proper Technique: Ensuring correct form and technique during sports, exercise routines, and daily activities to minimize stress on the shoulder joint and surrounding structures.
  3. Avoiding Overuse: Taking regular breaks and avoiding prolonged or repetitive movements that could strain the shoulder, thereby preventing overuse injuries that may contribute to the development of frozen shoulder.


Frozen shoulder, though varying in severity, necessitates tailored treatment based on individual circumstances. Timely diagnosis, diligent adherence to treatment protocols, and committed rehabilitation efforts are essential for alleviating symptoms and regaining optimal shoulder function. Seeking prompt medical evaluation is imperative for individuals encountering persistent shoulder stiffness, pain, or reduced mobility.

Related Conditions:

Rotator Cuff Tears



Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

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